Remember at the end of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", the Who's are perfectly happy with no presents, but the Grinch brings the gifts back anyway? The lesson the narrator tells us is that Christmas doesn't come from a store. That's true, but there were gifts none the less. No one went without. So even though we are supposed to learn a lesson about materialism, the materialism was still there. The catch is, the Who's were happy getting the things back that were already theirs. Thus, Regifting.
At our house, we have made a family tradition of Regifting. Taking a page right out of the Grinch story, we give things to each other that are already ours. We fix toys that were broken and re-give them. We put batteries in toys with worn-out batteries and they work like new. We give gifts again with a new meaning. Or we find something that has been long-lost and give it anew. In each case, the gift is something that we already had, but was given new life by the giver.
We still buy everyone in our family gifts that are new. Regifting is not our entire Christmas, but it does bring our awareness to what we already have and it gives us a new appreciation for old things. It is so easy during the holiday season to get caught up in what you want, what you wish you had, or what other people are giving and doing. Regifting makes a fun game out of turning old things into new gifts.
For example: The first year we did Regifting was in 2010. Carrick was close to his second birthday and was old enough to participate in Christmas by actually opening presents. I came up with the idea of Regifting because Carrick had so many toys and he wouldn't know the difference between new toys wrapped up and old ones. To him, it was just something to open and be excited about.
For one of my Christmas presents, Corey went to Page Springs Cellars and procured a bottle of wine that had been retired to "Library" status. He wasn't really supposed to be able to buy this wine, but the tasting room manager sold it to him anyway. It was my absolute favorite wine at the time. I was sad that they had retired it and that I couldn't drink it anymore. When I opened up the bottle on Christmas day, I was ecstatic!!! How had he managed to get this wine????
Two years later, as home owners, we celebrated our first Christmas in our new house. Carrick was almost 4, and I was pregnant with Lily. We were different people than who we were in 2010. We were a different family. We were in a new house, that belonged to us. Our perspective on life in general was different than two years previous. Corey (who had been hesitant to jump on board the Regifting train) happily participated in the Regifting tradition that year. Can you imagine how excited I was to open up a bottle of my favorite wine...again????
It was the exact same bottle he had given me two years prior, but it had sat in a dark corner of our cabinets, completely forgotten about...on purpose. We didn't want to just open it up and drink it for any old occasion. This was a wine that wasn't made anymore. Whenever we drank it, it had to be special and memorable, so we intentionally forgot about it. So to open up my favorite bottle of wine, even though it was the exact same bottle I already owned, it felt like I was opening up a second bottle of my favorite wine. I was so happy that he thought of me to give it to me. It might sound silly, but I was truly overjoyed at receiving this gift.
I do this with the kids too. I will go through their toys every so often and find toys that are missing parts or toys I know they would miss if they were gone and I put them in storage. Then I pull them out in November/December and see what I need to do to make the toys new again. Carrick has a shield he likes to use, but no sword to go with it. Lily destroyed it. So I am going to get a new toy sword and give it with the shield. It's like a new toy, but better, because I fixed what was wrong with it, and he misses it dearly. He will ask me where it is and I just say, "I think it might be in Santa's shop getting fixed." It just adds to the excitement and mystery of the disappearance of the beloved toy.
In Lily's case, I have received boodles and gobs of little girl things from my mama friends this year. Thanks to a recent "shopping" at a friend's house, I have plenty for Lily's Christmas and birthday two weeks later. Her daughter had a collection of things she wanted to get rid of, and Lily was someone she thought might like some of her old things. Regifting from other people's old things is also useful. Using something that someone else doesn't want anymore, and giving it new life with a new owner can also fall under the Regifting category. It didn't come from a store. It came from the generosity of someone else, which is a gift beyond measure.
I challenge you this holiday season to really examine what you spend on the holidays. Are you breaking the bank? Are you a super-stingy Scrooge? Where do you fall on the spending spectrum? How do you feel about what you spend? Are you spending out of guilt? Out of boredom? Out of love and generosity? The holidays can bring out different sides of us all that might stay hidden during the rest of the year. With pressures to see family, to create the perfect Christmas or (or Hanukkah) for the kids, or to host a get-together, we all fall prey to the spending bug towards the end of the calendar year. Examine your spending this year. Notice it. See where you spend, why you spend, and how it makes you feel. I did that, and it changed how we celebrate our Christmas.
Happy Holidays, and Happy Spending.
Money set aside for the Fun Dollars New Years Giveaway- $10.00 (money in the pot-$50.00)
Step Stool at Beall's Outlet for Carrick- $8.00
Soda at Circle K- $1.00
Sacks at Natural Grocers- $7.00
Balance this pay cycle- $0.00